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Publication numberUS20060087487 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/246,202
Publication dateApr 27, 2006
Filing dateOct 11, 2005
Priority dateOct 26, 2004
Also published asUS7413333
Publication number11246202, 246202, US 2006/0087487 A1, US 2006/087487 A1, US 20060087487 A1, US 20060087487A1, US 2006087487 A1, US 2006087487A1, US-A1-20060087487, US-A1-2006087487, US2006/0087487A1, US2006/087487A1, US20060087487 A1, US20060087487A1, US2006087487 A1, US2006087487A1
InventorsTsutomu Ota
Original AssigneeTsutomu Ota
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lighting apparatus and liquid crystal display apparatus
US 20060087487 A1
Abstract
There is provided a lighting apparatus comprising a light guiding plate, and a light source including a plurality of light-emitting elements which emit light at a plurality of brightness levels. The light emitting elements is provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate and arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate. The light-emitting elements are divided into a plurality of sets according to the brightness levels, and light-emitting elements in each of the sets are connected in series.
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Claims(5)
1. A lighting apparatus comprising:
a light guiding plate; and
a light source including a plurality of light-emitting elements which emit light at a plurality of brightness levels, the light emitting elements being provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate and arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate,
wherein the light-emitting elements are divided into a plurality of sets according to the brightness levels, and light-emitting elements in each of the sets are connected in series.
2. A lighting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein
the light source is formed by arranging a plurality of light-emitting element groups including the light-emitting elements along the side edge of the light guiding plate, each light-emitting group including two or more of the light-emitting elements which have the brightness levels different from each other, and
the light-emitting element groups are formed by arranging the respective light-emitting elements in a same order through the light-emitting element groups.
3. A lighting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein
the light source is formed by arranging a plurality of light-emitting element groups along the side edge of the light guiding plate, each light-emitting group includes some of the light-emitting elements which have the different brightness levels, each of the brightness levels is common to two or more of the some light-emitting elements included in the light-emitting group,
each of the light-emitting element groups is formed by arranging the two or more light-emitting elements having a same one of the brightness levels adjacent to each other, and arranging some of the light-emitting elements in a same order.
4. A lighting apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:
a plurality of power sources and a plurality of resistors,
wherein the sets of the light-emitting elements are connected to one of the power sources different from each other and one of the resistors different from each other in series.
5. A liquid crystal display apparatus comprising:
a lighting apparatus having a light guiding plate, and a light source including a plurality of light-emitting elements which emit light at a plurality of brightness levels, the light emitting elements being provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate and arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate; and
a liquid crystal display panel having an array substrate provided opposite to a light emission surface of the light guiding plate, an opposed substrate provided opposite to the array substrate with a gap therebetween, and a liquid crystal layer held between the array substrate and the opposed substrate,
wherein the light-emitting elements are divided into a plurality of sets according to the brightness levels, and light-emitting elements in each of the sets are connected in series.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2004-311262, filed Oct. 26, 2004, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a lighting apparatus and a liquid crystal display apparatus having the lighting apparatus.

2. Description of the Related Art

In recent years, liquid crystal display apparatuses used for car navigation systems and the like are required to have display property with high brightness. Such liquid crystal display apparatuses have a liquid crystal display panel and a back light unit. The liquid crystal display panel has an array substrate, an opposed substrate which is arranged opposed to the array substrate with a gap therebetween, and a liquid crystal layer held therebetween. The array substrate and the opposed substrate are adhered to each other by a sealing member provided on edge portions of the substrates.

The back light unit is provided on a back side of a display surface of the liquid crystal display panel, that is, on an external side of the array substrate. The back light unit has a light guiding plate including a light emission surface, and a light source arranged opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate. Generally, a cathode-ray tube is used as the light source. Recently, light-emitting diodes (referred to as “LED” hereinafter) with high brightness have been developed, and an LED can be used as the light source.

A liquid crystal display device having a display screen with a size of 6 to 7 inches uses 20 or more LEDs to obtain display property with high brightness, and these LEDs are arranged along a side edge of the light guiding plate. An IC for driving an LED does not have a capacity to drive 20 LEDs connected in series. Therefore, as disclosed in Jpn. Pat. Appln. KOKAI Pub. No. 2001-76525, for example, LEDs are connected in parallel to form two or more circuits and driven. This enables a liquid crystal display apparatus to have display property with high brightness.

The above LEDs vary in brightness level due to error in manufacturing, and are classified into three types, that is, high-brightness LEDs, normal-brightness LEDs, and low-brightness LEDs. If the back light unit is formed by using LEDs having variations in brightness, a display image may have uneven brightness. Therefore, it is necessary to select LEDs having a brightness level of one of the above three types for the back light unit, to prevent unevenness in brightness.

However, if the back light unit is formed by using only LEDs having a brightness level of one type, use efficiency of the LEDs reduces since LEDs having brightness levels of the other two types are not used. Further, since the manufacturing cost of the LEDs is expensive, the price of the product rises.

The present invention has been made in view of the above. The object of the present invention is to provide a lighting apparatus and a liquid crystal display apparatus having the lighting apparatus, which can reduce the manufacturing cost and suppress unevenness in brightness.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve the above problems, a lighting apparatus according to an aspect of the present invention comprises: a light guiding plate; and a light source including a plurality of light-emitting elements which emit light at a plurality of brightness levels, the light emitting elements being provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate and arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate, wherein the light-emitting elements are divided into a plurality of sets according to the brightness levels, and light-emitting elements in each of the sets are connected in series.

Further, a liquid crystal display apparatus according to another aspect of the present invention comprises: a lighting apparatus having a light guiding plate, and a light source including a plurality of light-emitting elements which emit light at a plurality of brightness levels, the light emitting elements being provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate and arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate; and a liquid crystal display panel having an array substrate provided opposite to a light emission surface of the light guiding plate, an opposed substrate provided opposite to the array substrate with a gap therebetween, and a liquid crystal layer held between the array substrate and the opposed substrate, wherein the light-emitting elements are divided into a plurality of sets according to the brightness levels, and light-emitting elements in each of the sets are connected in series.

Additional advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a liquid crystal display apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of a back light unit illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic plan view illustrating a modification of the back light unit.

FIG. 4 is a schematic plan view illustrating other modification of the back light unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A back light unit and a liquid crystal display apparatus having the back light unit according to an embodiment of the present invention are explained in detail below with reference to drawings.

As shown in FIG. 1, the liquid crystal display apparatus has a display screen with a size of 6 to 7 inches, and comprises a back light unit 1 serving as a lighting apparatus, and a liquid crystal display panel 2.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the back light unit 1 has light guiding plate 11 including a light emission surface S, a light source 12 and a reflector plate 13. The back light unit 1 may be formed by providing an optical system such as a prism sheet and a diffusion film (not shown) on the light guiding plate 11. The light source 12 is provided opposite to a side edge of the light guiding plate 11. The reflector plate 13 is open in a region opposed to the light emission surface S, and covers the light guiding plate 11 and the light source 12.

The light source 12 is explained in detail. The light source 12 is formed by arranging a plurality of light-emitting element groups 12 a along a side edge of the light guiding plate 11. Each light-emitting element group 12 a includes one normal-brightness LED 12 n and one high-brightness LED 12 h which emits light with a brightness higher than that of the normal-brightness LED, as a plurality of light-emitting elements having brightness levels different from each other. The normal-brightness LED 12 n and the high-brightness LED 12 h are arranged along the side edge of the light guiding plate 11. The light-emitting element groups 12 a are formed by arranging respective normal-brightness LEDs 12 n and respective high-brightness LED 12 h in the same order through the light-emitting element groups. Therefore, the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n and the high-brightness LEDs 12 h alternate along the edge of the light guiding plate 11.

The normal-brightness LEDs 12 n and the high-brightness LEDs 12 h are divided into two sets according to the brightness levels, and LEDs in each of the sets are connected in series. Specifically, all the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, a power source 14 n and a resistor 15 n are connected in series. Further, all the high-brightness LEDs 12 h, a power source 14 h different from the power source 14 n and a resistor 15 h are connected in series.

As shown in FIG. 1, the liquid crystal display panel 2 has an array substrate 20 provided opposite to the light emission surface S, an opposed substrate 30, a liquid crystal layer 40, a first polarizer 50, and a second polarizer 60.

The array substrate 20 has a glass substrate 21, a plurality of pixel electrodes 22 formed on the glass substrate 21, and an alignment film 23 formed on the pixel electrodes 22 and the glass substrate 21. The array substrate 20 also has various wiring (not shown) and thin-film transistors serving as switching elements formed on the glass substrate 21, etc.

The opposed substrate 30 has a glass substrate 31, a common electrode 32 formed on the glass substrate 31, and an alignment film 33 formed on the common electrode 32. The pixel electrodes 22 and the common electrode 32 are formed of a transparent conductive material such as ITO (indium tin oxide). The alignment film 23 and the alignment film 33 are subjected to rubbing as an alignment film treatment process.

The array process 20 and the opposed process 30 are arranged opposite to each other with a predetermined gap by a plurality of spacers 41. The array process 20 and the opposed substrate 30 are adhered to each other by a sealing member 42 provided on edge portions of the boards. The liquid crystal layer 40 is held between the array substrate 20, the opposed substrate 30 and the sealing member 42. The first polarizer 50 is disposed on an external surface of the array substrate 20, and the second polarizer 60 is disposed on an external surface of the opposed substrate 30.

According to the liquid crystal display apparatus having the above structure, the back light unit 1 has the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n and the high-brightness LEDs 12 h. Therefore, even if LEDs are manufactured with variations in brightness due to error in manufacturing, such as the high-brightness LEDs 12 h and the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, it is possible to form the back light unit 1 by using LEDs of two types of brightness levels, that is, high-brightness LEDs and normal-brightness LEDs. The back light unit 1 of the embodiment achieves an improved use efficiency of LEDs and a reduced manufacturing cost, in comparison with a back light unit formed by using LEDs of one type of brightness level. This enables suppression of rise in the price of the back light unit 1, and consequently the price of the liquid crystal display apparatus.

Further, the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n and the high-brightness LEDs 12 h are alternately provided along the edge of the light guiding plate 11. The normal-brightness LED 12 n are connected in series, and the high-brightness LEDs 12 h are connected in series. Therefore, it is possible to suppress unevenness in brightness occurring on the light emission surface S, and consequently suppress unevenness in brightness occurring on the display screen, independently of variations in brightness of the LEDs and presence/absence of variations in power of the power sources 14 n and 14 h. Furthermore, it is possible to achieve image display with a sufficient brightness, even if the liquid crystal display apparatus is used for products required to have high brightness, such as vehicle-mounted car navigation systems.

Therefore, it is possible to obtain the back light unit 1 which reduces the manufacturing cost and suppresses unevenness in brightness, and a liquid crystal display apparatus having the back light unit.

The present invention is not limited to the above embodiment, but various modifications are possible within the range of the invention. For example, in a modification shown in FIG. 3, each of light-emitting element groups 12 a includes one high-brightness LED 12 h, one normal-brightness LED 12 n, and one low-brightness LED 121 which emits light with a brightness lower than that of the normal-brightness LED, as a plurality of light-emitting elements having brightness levels different from one another. These LEDs are arranged along the side edge of a light guiding plate 11.

The light-emitting element groups 12 a are formed by arranging respective high-brightness LEDs 12 h, respective normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, and respective low-brightness LEDs 121 in the same order through the light-emitting element groups. Therefore, the high-brightness LEDs 12 h, the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, and the low-brightness LEDs 121 are repeatedly arranged in the same order along the edge of the light guiding plate 11. All the low-brightness LEDs 121, a power source 141 different from the power sources 14 h and 14 n, and a resistor 151 are connected in series. The back light unit 1 having the above structure also can achieve the same effect as that of the back light unit in the above embodiment. Further, in this modification, the back light unit 1 is formed of LEDs of three types of brightness levels, that is, the high-brightness LEDs 12 h, the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, and the low-brightness LEDs 121. Therefore, the back light unit 1 is formed by using all the manufactured LEDs classified into the three types of brightness levels. This improves the use efficiency of LEDs, and further reduces the manufacturing cost, in comparison with back light units formed by using LEDs of 1 or 2 types of brightness levels. Therefore, it is possible to further suppress rise in the price of the back light unit 1, and consequently the price of the liquid crystal display apparatus.

Further, the light source 12 may be formed by arranging a plurality of light-emitting element groups including a plurality of LEDs having different brightness levels along the side edge of the light guiding plate. Each light-emitting group includes some of the LEDs which have the different brightness levels, and each of the brightness levels is common to two or more of the some LEDs included in the light-emitting group. In this modification, each of the light-emitting element groups 12 a is formed by arranging its LEDs having the same brightness level adjacent to each other, and arranging the LEDs in the same order. Specifically, as shown in FIG. 4, the light source 12 has a structure in which each light-emitting element group 12 a has two high-brightness LEDs 12 h and two normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, the two LEDs of the same brightness in each light-emitting element group are arranged adjacent to each other, and the high-brightness LEDs and the normal-brightness LEDs are arranged in the same order through the light source 12. The light source 12 is not limited to a combination of the high-brightness LEDs 12 h and the normal-brightness LEDs 12 n, or a combination of the high-brightness LEDs, normal-brightness LEDs and low-brightness LEDs. The light source 12 may be formed of a combination of the high-brightness LEDs and the low-brightness LEDs, and a combination of the normal-brightness LEDs and the low-brightness LEDs. The number of LEDs arranged on a side edge of the light guiding plate 11 can be changed in accordance with the brightness of the LEDs and the size of the display screen.

Although the LEDs are provided opposite to one side edge of the light guiding plate 11 in the above embodiment, the LEDs may be provided opposite to both side edges of the light guiding plate 11 as a matter of course.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7891854Nov 30, 2006Feb 22, 2011Sharp Kabushiki KaishaBacklight device and display device using the same
US7942556Jan 16, 2008May 17, 2011Xicato, Inc.Solid state illumination device
US7984999Oct 10, 2008Jul 26, 2011Xicato, Inc.Illumination device with light emitting diodes and moveable light adjustment member
US8104908Mar 4, 2010Jan 31, 2012Xicato, Inc.Efficient LED-based illumination module with high color rendering index
US8104922Jul 31, 2010Jan 31, 2012Xicato, Inc.Solid state illumination device
US8220971Nov 12, 2009Jul 17, 2012Xicato, Inc.Light emitting diode module with three part color matching
US8317359Jun 22, 2011Nov 27, 2012Xicato, Inc.Illumination device with light emitting diodes and moveable light adjustment member
US8382335Jun 27, 2012Feb 26, 2013Xicato, Inc.Light emitting diode module with three part color matching
US8408726Jan 4, 2012Apr 2, 2013Xicato, Inc.Efficient led-based illumination modules with high color rendering index
US8500297Jan 17, 2013Aug 6, 2013Xicato, Inc.Light emitting diode module with three part color matching
US8636378Nov 5, 2012Jan 28, 2014Xicato, Inc.Illumination device with light emitting diodes and movable light adjustment member
Classifications
U.S. Classification345/102
International ClassificationF21V8/00, F21S2/00, H01L33/00, G02F1/13357, G09G3/36
Cooperative ClassificationG02B6/0031, G09G3/3406, Y10S362/80, G02B6/0068, G09G2320/0233
European ClassificationG09G3/34B, G02B6/00L6S2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 8, 2012ASAssignment
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:TOSHIBA MATSUSHITA DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.;REEL/FRAME:028339/0273
Owner name: TOSHIBA MOBILE DISPLAY CO., LTD., JAPAN
Effective date: 20090525
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:TOSHIBA MOBILE DISPLAY CO., LTD.;REEL/FRAME:028339/0316
Owner name: JAPAN DISPLAY CENTRAL INC., JAPAN
Effective date: 20120330
Sep 21, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Oct 11, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: TOSHIBA MATSUSHITA DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD., J
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OTA, TSUTOMU;REEL/FRAME:017084/0594
Effective date: 20050929